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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 30, 2024
  2. Online matching markets (OMMs) are commonly used in today’s world to pair agents from two parties (whom we will call offline and online agents) for mutual benefit. However, studies have shown that the algorithms making decisions in these OMMs often leave disparities in matching rates, especially for offline agents. In this article, we propose online matching algorithms that optimize for either individual or group-level fairness among offline agents in OMMs. We present two linear-programming (LP) based sampling algorithms, which achieve competitive ratios at least 0.725 for individual fairness maximization and 0.719 for group fairness maximization. We derive further bounds based on fairness parameters, demonstrating conditions under which the competitive ratio can increase to 100%. There are two key ideas helping us break the barrier of 1-1/𝖾~ 63.2% for competitive ratio in online matching. One is boosting , which is to adaptively re-distribute all sampling probabilities among only the available neighbors for every arriving online agent. The other is attenuation , which aims to balance the matching probabilities among offline agents with different mass allocated by the benchmark LP. We conduct extensive numerical experiments and results show that our boosted version of sampling algorithms are not only conceptually easy to implement but also highly effective in practical instances of OMMs where fairness is a concern. 
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  3. We consider online resource allocation under a typical non-profit setting, where limited or even scarce resources are administered by a not-for-profit organization like a government. We focus on the internal-equity by assuming that arriving requesters are homogeneous in terms of their external factors like demands but heterogeneous for their internal attributes like demographics. Specifically, we associate each arriving requester with one or several groups based on their demographics (i.e., race, gender, and age), and we aim to design an equitable distributing strategy such that every group of requesters can receive a fair share of resources proportional to a preset target ratio. We present two LP-based sampling algorithms and investigate them both theoretically (in terms of competitive-ratio analysis) and experimentally based on real COVID-19 vaccination data maintained by the Minnesota Department of Health. Both theoretical and numerical results show that our LP-based sampling strategies can effectively promote equity, especially when the arrival population is disproportionately represented, as observed in the early stage of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. 
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  4. null (Ed.)

    Several scientific studies have reported the existence of the income gap among rideshare drivers based on demographic factors such as gender, age, race, etc. In this paper, we study the income inequality among rideshare drivers due to discriminative cancellations from riders, and the tradeoff between the income inequality (called fairness objective) with the system efficiency (called profit objective). We proposed an online bipartite-matching model where riders are assumed to arrive sequentially following a distribution known in advance. The highlight of our model is the concept of acceptance rate between any pair of driver-rider types, where types are defined based on demographic factors. Specially, we assume each rider can accept or cancel the driver assigned to her, each occurs with a certain probability which reflects the acceptance degree from the rider type towards the driver type. We construct a bi-objective linear program as a valid benchmark and propose two LP-based parameterized online algorithms. Rigorous online competitive ratio analysis is offered to demonstrate the flexibility and efficiency of our online algorithms in balancing the two conflicting goals, promotions of fairness and profit. Experimental results on a real-world dataset are provided as well, which confirm our theoretical predictions.

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  5. null (Ed.)

    With the popularity of the Internet, traditional offline resource allocation has evolved into a new form, called online resource allocation. It features the online arrivals of agents in the system and the real-time decision-making requirement upon the arrival of each online agent. Both offline and online resource allocation have wide applications in various real-world matching markets ranging from ridesharing to crowdsourcing. There are some emerging applications such as rebalancing in bike sharing and trip-vehicle dispatching in ridesharing, which involve a two-stage resource allocation process. The process consists of an offline phase and another sequential online phase, and both phases compete for the same set of resources. In this paper, we propose a unified model which incorporates both offline and online resource allocation into a single framework. Our model assumes non-uniform and known arrival distributions for online agents in the second online phase, which can be learned from historical data. We propose a parameterized linear programming (LP)-based algorithm, which is shown to be at most a constant factor of 1/4 from the optimal. Experimental results on the real dataset show that our LP-based approaches outperform the LP-agnostic heuristics in terms of robustness and effectiveness.

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